The Authority of the Bible – Part 1

Yesterday my family and I began reading Chapter 4, “The Four Characteristics of Scripture: (1) Authority,” of Wayne Grudem’s <i>Systematic Theology</i> in our after breakfast Bible reading time. I introduced the chapter and we read parts of its first section, which demonstrates that all the words in the Bible are God’s words. We expect to spend three more days reading from the chapter.

The Bible contains numerous claims that all its words are God’s words.

In the Old Testament, the phrase “Thus says the LORD” appears hundreds of times and God is often described as speaking “through” the prophet. These verses don’t claim that all the words in the Old Testament are God’s words, but they do show that the Old Testament contains large sections that are His words.

The New Testament contains many passages that indicate that all of the Old Testament was thought of as God’s words. Two of them are:
– “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16, ESV; all Bible quotations are from the ESV. Verse 15 identifies the “Scripture” spoken of in verse 16 as being the Hebrew Bible or our Old Testament.
– “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21. Verse 20 identifies the “prophecy” of verse 21 as being the prophecies contained in the Old Testament.

The New Testament also contains two passages that refer to parts of the New Testament as Scripture along with the Old Testament:
– “Our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given to him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures” (2 Peter 3:15-16).
– “For the Scripture says, ‘You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,’ and, ‘The laborer deserves his wages'” (1 Timothy 5:18). The second passage is a quotation from Luke 10:7.

There are also passages in the New Testament that suggest that their writers viewed their words as coming from God. Two are:
– “If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 14:37).
– “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book. If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and the holy city, which are described in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19).

We closed our consideration of the section by reading two passages in which Jesus promised the twelve that the Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth:
– “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26).
– “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:13).


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